Arrival of spring means it’s time to support St. Baldrick’s night again

Published 10:25 am Wednesday, April 18, 2012

by Gayle Schmitz

Once again, the daffodils, forsythia and flowering trees are in full bloom in Franklin. That means that baldheads will spring up soon.

That’s because the fourth annual St. Baldrick’s night at Fred’s on Main Street in Franklin is in the works for Saturday, April 21. If you’ve missed it in the past, it is a wonderful event that supports “a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give the survivors long and healthy lives.”

The decorative theme is taken from St. Patrick’s Day, with a lot of green heads, shamrocks and leprechaun-like foolishness.

Heads are shaved in empathy for children who lose their hair to chemotherapy. Attendees toss money to encourage their friends — and strangers — to take part. Last year’s event made close to $10,000.

As always, we will dedicate this event in memory of Casy Rich, son of Mary and Stan Rich of Franklin.

The organizers, who wish to remain unsung heroes, provide dinner for volunteers with some help from David Rabil of Fred’s for some fixins’ and from a lot of Leprechauns for cooking and set-up work.

The public is welcome at 6 p.m. Donations at the door are welcome, appreciated and much needed. Head shaving starts at 7.

While this is usually done closer to St. Patrick’s Day, attendance has grown so much that the date this year was moved. We’re hoping for good weather so we can be outside on the patio at Fred’s.

St. Baldrick’s provides for specific events, like ours, to honor a child with cancer. Our local child is Jimmy Conner, who has leukemia as well as Down syndrome. He attends each year, and fortunately, is in remission.

St. Baldrick’s earmarks the amount of donations to provide grants to his family when they are in need. His parents are Mr. and Mrs. James Conner of Suffolk. James is retired from the U.S. Coast Guard, and we are always happy to support our veterans.

We announced last year the inclusion of cutting hair for Locks of Love, a not-for-profit, nonreligious, nonpolitical organization that provides hairpieces for children age 6 to 21 who have lost their hair to diseases, burns and radiation treatments.

These are special — vacuum-fitted to each child — so they may swim, shower and just be kids. They are provided free, or on a sliding scale, depending on the family’s needs. The cost begins at $3,500 per piece.

We hope that this will bring out more women in our city and surrounding communities to attend this event, although you longhaired fellas can help out as well.

You don’t have to shave your head to help, but if you have 10 inches of hair that is not chemically bleached, you can donate to Locks of Love. Curls and perms are fine, just stretch and measure.

Any hair received that can’t be used for wigs is sold for funding their efforts, so it’s all helpful.

While the evening’s financial donations are for St. Baldrick’s, information on Locks of Love for help or donations will be available that night — or call me.

GAYLE SCHMITZ is a Franklin resident and can be reached at 516-2660.